Victor Matfield says talk about scrapping the Barbarians is premature.
The famous club took a 60-11 beating against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday, again stirring questions about their place in the modern game. The ‘Baa-Baas’ beat New Zealand in 2009 and South Africa in 2010, and Matfield pointed to those as reason enough to persist with the tradition.
‘When you come up for the Barbarians you don’t have a lot of training, so some days you click, other days you struggle a bit,’ he said. ‘Maybe the communication wasn’t there, there were one or two slipped tackles and then the other side get momentum and it’s hard to stop.
‘Australia are a full international side and they know each other pretty well. The Barbarians have won two out of three now in the last three years against the southern hemisphere teams so why shoot them down after one bad game? I think it’s a fantastic idea and we need this in rugby. It’s the only time we really get to know the other top players.’
Barbarians assistant coach Steve Hansen echoed the lock’s thoughts. ‘Having coached a side (New Zealand) that’s played the Barbarians and actually lost to them, after four Test matches in four weeks and then having a fifth game, it’s a lot different,’ Hansen explained. ‘I agree with Victor. The Barbarians concept is magnificent for rugby and we should hang on to it for as long as we can.’